James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is now playing in cinemas around the globe, and it's bloody fantastic. It's violent and crude and action-packed, but it's also full of heart, with tons of likeable characters. It's the perfect summer movie.
But despite all that pre-release buzz, the glowing reviews, and the positive fan reaction, The Suicide Squad's opening weekend was anything but good news.
Despite expectations that it would easily surpass $30 million in the U.S., the movie just debuted with a lacklustre $26.5 million. For context, Fast 9 and Black Widow opened with $70 million and $80 million respectively, while Space Jam 2 and Jungle Cruise did $31 million and $35 million - so you can see why The Suicide Squad's tally is being viewed as a disappointment.
We're obviously living in a strange global time right now, but that's not the only factor at play here. Again, freakin' Jungle Cruise just made $35 million last weekend! So, the question becomes... how does a movie as good as The Suicide Squad make less than an utter abomination like Space Jam 2? Well, let's take a look.
8. The R-Rating
While it's been proven time and time again that R-rated comic-book movies can produce impressive box-office results (Joker, Logan, both Deadpool flicks), the fact that The Suicide Squad cut off younger cinemagoers obviously restricted its earnings potential.
Not that the movie would've doubled or tripled its opening weekend gross if it had a more accessible rating. But over the course of a weeks-long theatrical run, those extra $5-$10 million chunks the movie could've earned from PG-13 audiences would start to add up.
It goes back to that discussion about business practices vs. artistic vision. James Gunn's The Suicide Squad is an R-rated movie through to its core - you can't just remove that element and expect the same terrific, critically-acclaimed result.
But with that rating in mind, it was perhaps a bit ill-advised to give Gunn a staggering $185 million to play with, especially when those aforementioned, successful R-rated comic-book movies all cost between $55 million (Joker) and $110 million (Deadpool 2), thus slightly mitigating the risk of cutting off that PG-13 demographic.
If The Suicide Squad had cost somewhere in the region of $100-$120 million to produce? Then that $26.5 million debut would've been viewed as a decent result.